All That Glitters

You, lover of rare jewels
Who plucks opals from the depths of the earth,
Then mounts them on a bracelet
And stares transfixed into their fire,
Drinking thoughtfully each radiant hue
The way a wine-taster
Admires the essence and flavor
Of the rarest casks from the cellar,
Or the way a lover of music sits silently,
Eyes brimming with tears
As a young soprano sings
A ballad, tender and melancholy,
Her voice floating over a light accompaniment of strings and winds
With a longing and loneliness
Which sounds in each quivering note.

You, who garner sapphires
Which burn like moons
As they catch the sun's rays,
And emeralds
Which conjure vast rolling meadows
That stretch far beyond the horizon into infinity,
And rubies
Which glare with scarlet flame
That resonates in the blood spreading its warmth.

You love a reflection
Of light stolen from illuminating flames,
A mirror
Which hangs coldly upon the wall
Revealing nothing save that which you reveal unto it.

You tread on me, the humble rock
And despise me
For I do not shine like that which you adore.
You tread on me and break me
And grind me up to make mortar
For the walls you build around you.
You snatch me up and hurl me at your enemies
And wet me with their blood,
I, the simple stone,
Who would be content to lie
On the warm earth and sun myself,
Or to be worn on a ring,
Like that which you adore,
And be admired for my steadfastness.
Instead, I'm roughly handled
And thoughtlessly thrown away
By you, lover of sparkling gems,
Because I am dull beneath the sunlight,
And because I am coarse and misshapen.

Lover of rare jewels,
Your mistresses shine to you
But their hearts are black and cold
For the light they reflect I absorb
And take as my sustenance.
There is light within me your eyes cannot grasp
For you see only what I have to show you,
Naked of all reflective robes
But hiding a greater mystery.

George Chadderdon © 1993